At Berta, we always have a vegetable stock on hand. It’s easy to make, keeps the vegetarians happy and is good to use when you wish to add extra flavour but don’t want a meaty taste. Use this recipe as a guide and feel free to be creative but sensible with the vegetables and herbs you use.
This recipe for vegetable stock freezes well and it’s also a handy way to use up stray vegetable scraps.
- 2 brown onions, cut into quarters
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly bashed
- 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 leek, washed and thickly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
- 3 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 litres cold water
- 1 small handful parsley stalks
- 1 cup basil leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 30 minutes
In a large pot combine all the vegetables, thyme, peppercorns and water. Place on a high heat, bring to the boil and then lower the temperature so your stock is just simmering.
At this stage, add the parsley stalks and perhaps give your stock a little skim.
Let it cook for 30 minutes before removing from the heat.
Add the basil leaves and set it aside for another 30 minutes.
Strain and it’s ready to use straightaway.
• Rosemary is inappropriate for a vegetable stock, and bay leaves are unnecessary – they can also turn your stock a lurid green if you use too many. Most vegetables are good to use, although I would avoid eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and asparagus stalks. Try to keep in mind what you want to use your stock for and use that as your flavour guide.
• If you are using fresh peas for my risi e bisi recipe, add a handful of pea pods to your stock.